MYERSTOWN — That this is supposed to be, and still could be, a special baseball season at Elco was evidenced by nine Raiders who huddled with their parents against the wind and cold
In Senior Day festivities Wednesday.
In the game that followed, the Raiders improved to 6-3 with a forgettable 15-0, four-inning stroll past Lancaster Mennonite at Lyle Krall Field.
“Write about the seniors,’’ suggested coach Roger Hehnly. “This gave us a chance to play all of them, which was nice.’’
Not quite all of them. A tenth senior, Riley Keppley, had to miss Wednesday due to COVID-19 protocols. That’s been a theme.
Elco expected to be pretty good in 2020, but of course no one got the chance. Hehnly and his staff liked this group even more coming into the season, especially after the quality and quantity of indoor work it got done in the winter and early spring.
But the Raiders started this season 2-2, and still trail two of the league’s best teams, Manheim Central and Cocalico, in Section Four of the Lancaster-Lebanon League.
They broke through with a 6-0 defeat of then-undefeated Lancaster Catholic April 14, but Wednesday’s game was the Raiders’ first since then - three opponents had to opt out of games due to COVID-19 in the interim. And Elco doesn’t play again until Monday.
Central and Cocalico are Class 5A; Elco is 4A and came into Wednesday seventh in 4A District Three power rankings.
The Raiders have enough pitching to stay relevant. Senior Dakota Smith shut out Catholic. His co-ace, Riley Blatt, struck out six in three innings Wednesday. Wyatt Manzel struck out the side in the fourth to end the game. There’s also a freshman, Morgan Shanaman, who’s been the No. 3 starter and done some relief work.
“The good pitching always gives us a chance,’’ Hehnly said. “Those guys keep us in games.’’
The offense Wednesday was, … let’s go with leisurely. The Raiders walked 13 times in four innings, stole eight bases, reached twice on runaway third strikes.
There were also some big hits, including Blatt’s RBI single in the first inning, and Lance Weidman’s RBI double in the fourth. Smith had two hits, stole a base, scored a run and drove one in.
The Raiders host Donegal Monday, and then the schedule gets dense. Wyomissing is here Tuesday, and Pequea Valley Wednesday.